US Planes Fly Over Nigeria in Hunt for Missing Girls
The United States, Israel and Britain are assisting Nigeria in its search for nearly 300 school girls kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram.
U.S. surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft have already begun flying over the West African nation.
"I think it's important to note that when we talk about assisting in the effort to locate the girls we are talking about helping the Nigerian government search an area that is roughly the size of New England. So this is no small task. But we are certainly bringing resources to bear in our effort to assist the government," White House press secretary Jay Carney said.
On Monday, the world saw some of the first images of the Nigerian school girls since they were kidnapped nearly a month ago.
A video released by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram shows around 100 of the girls wearing burqas, reading the Koran and reciting Muslim prayers.
The leader of Boko Haram was also seen on video bragging that the kidnapped girls have been "liberated" because they are now Muslim.
And the terror leader had a message for the Nigerian government: The girls could be released in exchange for captured Boko Haram terrorists
But a prisoner exchange would be complicated for the Nigerian government, which has said it will not pay for the girls' release.
"The government of Nigeria has no intention to pay ransom or to buy the girls because the sale of human beings is a crime against humanity," Dr. Reuben Abati, presidential special adviser, said.
Demonstrators continued to gather in Nigeria's capital, demanding the government do more.
"We will continue to agitate, protest, ask questions until these girls come back," Dino Melaye, executive secretary of the Nigerian Anti-Corruption Network, said.
Over the weekend, first lady Michelle Obama added her voice to the growing global movement.
"In these girls, Barack and I see our own daughters," she said.
The "Bring Back Our Girls" memo is being spread on Facebook and Twitter.
But some are asking why it took the world three weeks to care about the girls until the start of the Benghazi hearings in Congress, and why the Left still does not seem to care about the sons and husbands left behind in the Benghazi debacle.
On Fox News Sunday, syndicated columnist George Will belittled the "Bring Back Our Girls" campaign as nothing more than an "exercise in self-esteem."
"Are these barbarians in Nigeria supposed to check their Twitter accounts and say 'Uh-oh, Michelle Obama is very cross with us, we better change out behavior?' Power is the ability to achieve intended effects and this is not intended to have any effect on the real world," he said.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said finding the girls is a huge challenge.
"This is not going to be an easy task but we're going to bring to bear every asset we can possibly use to help the Nigerian government," he said.
But just a year ago, the same U.S. government told the Nigerian military to show restraint when it was hitting Boko Haram hard.
Now the United States is demanding a tough approach from the Nigerians, and it certainly looks as though U.S. foreign policy is being dictated by a social media campaign.